The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has granted stay of execution of the death sentence on two of the twelve Nigerian soldiers who were convicted last year by a Military Court Martial over their alleged complicity in acts of mutiny.
The soldiers who were part of the Nigerian forces prosecuting the war against insurgency by the Boko Haram sect in the northeast, had on September 15, 2014, being condemned to death by the General Court Marshal which sat at the Army Headquarters Garrison, Mogadishu Cantonment in Abuja. The offences they were charged with ranged from disobedience to particular order, insubordination, false accusation, criminal behavior, conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny under the Armed Forces Act 2004.
However, three of the convicted soldiers, CPL Stephen Clement, CPL Igomu Emmanuel and PTE Andrew Ngbede, appealed their sentence through their lawyer, Chief Godwin Obla, SAN.
In separate suits, the three soldiers raised eleven grounds of appeal. They argued that they were not granted fair trial, adding that the proceedings of the General Court Marshal was fraught with many fundamental irregularities. They therefore prayed the Appeal Court to stay the execution of their sentences pending the hearing and determination of the appeals.
The court presided over by Justice Abubakar Jega Abdulkadir granted their plea. It also ordered the Nigerian Army to avail the convicted soldiers of the Record of Proceedings of the General Court Marshal which tried and convicted them to enable them compile records for their appeal.
The application for stay of execution filed by the third convicted soldier, CPL Stephen Clement, is yet to be heard as it was not listed on the Court’s list on the day those of the other convicted soldiers were heard.